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Author Topic: Sister Wilgifortis Uncumber (Halberdet: Book II)  (Read 79 times)
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psiberzerker
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« on: October 09, 2018, 02:20:32 AM »

This is also a work of pure Fantasy, with the exception of name drops to Lords who happen to be inhabiting Basing House (John Paulet the #, Marquess of Winchester) and similar historical allusions.  The characters, events, and most of the locations are the product of an over-active imagination.  Any resemblance to real people, most likely long dead are purely coincidental.  I'm also going to struggle through writing this in 3rd Person, so chapter names (An character/trigger codes where needed) will be the rough Location, instead of the Narrator.  God's Eye View, which I never got the hang of, having no experience with being Omniscient.

;

A long time ago, in a land far away, there was never a towne called Meander, in the shadow of an old Norman Motte.  Covered in the ash of a wooden keep, and palisade, burned down by the townspeople in rebellion.  There, after centuries of little more contact than the occasional immigrant stopping by from the Roman Road, or landing from the River Wallington.  They were largely forgotten in the wood, and from that relative isolation, some things became a little weird, for the time.

However, from the Domesday Book to records of the Basemonte built from the Ring Fort there before it, there were Taxes.  Mostly timber, floated down the river as far as Wallington, then polling back upstream in Barges.  For decades collected for the Crown by the Abbot of Winchester Abbey.  Then, a minor daughter of the House Talbot was wed to a Catholic Hero from the Continental Empire of the Holy See, and granted the town of Meander.  Basically as a Dowry from her uncle, Baron of Portsmouth.  

This was generally taken badly by the Abbot, who enjoyed the Taxes on the Timber.  The neighbors saw the existence of a "Foreigner" gaining a Lordly Title (Baronet.  Incidentally the bare minimum to be called "Sire.") as an affront, and threatening the Nobility of their own titles, because they're fucking petty squabbling territorial spoiled inbred landed gentlemen, and it's an exclusive club.  They can't just let anyone in, regardless of what the higher ranking Nobles, like the Tudor King says, it's indecent!  This isn't about them, so that's about enough of that.  

Suffice it to say, the olde Motte was built on a Ring Fort, in an Ox Bow that the town of Meander was named for, because it's a Defensive position.  It is near the confluence of a poleable river, and a Roman Road from Basingtoke to the Portsmouth Metropolitan Area.  Port's Mouth basically commands a peninsula, a great bay, protected harbor, The Isle of Wight, and trade going East/West between them.  Several Ports, and river mouths.  Hence the name:  Port's Mouth.  

Also a lot of Wealth, and Power for the Talbots.  A lot more than the Timber which is most of the income for meander, until the Talbots came, and pissed off the neighbors.  So, it had to be defended, the Keep rebuilt, only with some mind to modern military hardware, like Gunpowder.  Mortars, and Arquebus.  Blunderbuss, and just powederkegs that can be rolled down a hill, undermined to blow up the stone Bailey wall, or lobbed over the river if a Siege Engineer has enough time to make a Trebauchet.  Not to mention the last keep was all wood, and the townspeople burned it down, so the nickname is "Blackstone Motte."  They fed the fire for days, long enough to fire a shell out of the clay it was built out of in the first place, and cover the Basemonte with a layer of ash.  

The river ran Black whenever it rained for over a month after that.  That's how much ash they buried the crypt in.  So, when the Talbots took over, they brought in Kilns, and Brickmasons on Barges, to at least face the tower, and wall around it with Brick.  Backfilled with unfired clay, and reinforced with an inner layer of Wood, to build on.  The roof is imported Slate from quarries upstream, so once again it is officially called Blackstone Keep.  

Marioth Halberdet (ne Talbot)

"Halberdet" is the nickname of an adoptee to this house.  (Talbot)  A commoner, Tanner's daughter, tomboy, and all around badass.  Long Story Short, she impressed the Master of Arms, at the time.  A Ritter (Knight) van Holland, and chief bodyguard to the Lady Avice Talbot, Baronetess of Meander.  Once suitor to her hand, he was bested by her husband, the Baronet Talbot.  He took her name, along with her Rank.  Since it's a Good English name, and his was probably something impronouncable in proto-Polish/Hungarian.

The "Halberdet" is basically what die Ritter van Holland called a "Varzau Ax."  A pollax.  Like this:


One of many, he brought in a Arming Cart, because they're cheap, and he's the Master at Arms to a Polish Veteran from Warsaw.  When he arrived in Meander, his first task was to find the best fighters amongst the Youth.  (Basically from their voices cracking until they marry, or start trades/families of their own.)  However, the term "Youth" wasn't gender specific, so amongst them was 1 gal who was old enough, and bright enough to show up for muster actually Armed.

She turned out to be trained, for over a decade, to defend the towne with a Spear.  All of the girl's were, while the boys played at "The Hood of Shire's Wood"  (Robin Hood) with Hunter's bows, and carved wooden swords.  The gals learned from their mothers, and grandmothers, how to defend their homes, streets, gates, and shores with spears.  Just one of those local customs, over a couple centuries, it was decided they had just enough men to man the stone wall from bank to bank with bows.  (And woodcutter's axes once it got to a Melee)  That left the women to defend the town as best they could, and eventually it was discovered that that ment Spears.

Honestly, it doesn't take much strength to hold a doorway with a spear, nor a gate with Massed spears.  You pretty much just have to hold them out, and stab whoever tries to come in.  Before they can get too close through all those spears, that's basically why Spears were the race weapon for Humanity for hundreds of thousands of years.  They're also made mostly of wood, which the town is downright Rich in.  Some of them tipped in Bronze, most of them probably Iron, a very few Steel, and the vast majority of Martial practice in town (Aside from boys being boys, and Target Practice) was girls, maidens, women, and grandmothers practicing, and passing down Spearfighting.  To the point that the lads think "The spear is a Woman's Weapon," and the gals think it's a little weird when they meet other maidens from outside.  That didn't grow up with a Quarterstaff to train with the women until maidens, when they inherited the family spearheads, and carved the haft to mount it themselves.  It a local rite of Womanhood.  

Again, this is Fantasy.  In Lovecraftland (Mostly New England) once you go far enough up the Miskatonic, you'll eventually find someone so backward, and inbred, they still say "Shew" instead of "Show," about 500 years later.  This is where they originally said "Shew."  The spiritual progeny of families like Delapore, before he moves back to his ancestral estate, and reclaims the name dE lA POEr.  (An homage to Edgar Alan Poe by Lovecraft, a big fan.) This isn't that fantasy, either.  I'm just giving credit where it's due to Inspiration.  No where, that I know of, in the south of England did they ever actually have a tradition like this, but it's as good an excuse as any.

Too young to Start training as a Squire.  She was accepted into the House (Talbot) as a Paige, spied for the Abbot's Monk, trained in Pollax, and trained the Boys in Spearfighting.  Eventually she was adopted by the Lady Avice, so that she could be married by the Master (Now Captain of the Guard) and basically cement the family to the town of meander.  Where everyone doesn't love them, there are secret enemies within, open animosity from the Neighbors, a schemeing Abbot with his own secrets, and spies, all in the foreground of a brewing Civil War in the backdrop, just to make everything interesting.

Because without Conflict, there's really nothing interesting to write about besides Sex, and there's plenty of Sex Fantasies on this site.  There's hopefully enough in this story to keep your interest, and count as Erotic, but it's not the only thing.  

It's not that kind of Fantasy, either.

;

Also, a note on Proper speling:  There hainte none.  Most of these people are illiterate, which is why all the way back to the Domesday Book (The first tax records for all of England, by William the Norman Conqueror) you had so many spelings for Jonne Smythe.  So, don't corect my speling in your head, there is no corect speling, because most of this is in their illiterate heads, and They can't spell their own names.  There's 1 book, in the entire Towne, which isn't owned by the Lord and Lady.  It's a Bible, and King James hasn't even been borne yet.  Sometimes the same name is spelled differently by different characters, mostly phonetically because they're pronounced slightly differently.  Jean (Norman) Sean (Saxon) Johannes...  They, are all the same name, in slightly different languages.  This is a remarkably diverse towne, because despite it's isolation, everyone has marched, or polled through there since the Romans built the nearest road, and bridge.  

The last just happened to be the Normans, so they're pretty prejudiced against the French, anything French, or anything perceived to be sounding French, despite Lingua Franca words like Motte, they're unaware are French, from the Normans that built the damned thing.  Now, with all that Preface aside, hopefully I won't have to write any more notes in the chapters proper.  If I do, author's notes will be in {Braces}

« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 02:25:35 AM by psiberzerker » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2018, 08:00:26 PM »

I awoke to nightmares, despite every precaution.  Checking my throat, and soles for bites, I had all my blood, but whereas the Vampyres could not get to my body, they invaded my dreams in a horde.  Unable to cross the bridge, they cut me off, and surrounded me, but came from the direction of the Stones.  Plainly visible in the morning light, the sun rose behind them, driving the horrors back with it, as the mysts cleared from the river.

Winterborne
{Now the River Till, at the Winterborne Stoke Bridge, and ruins of the 12th century Parish Church across the river}  As my shivers left me, the horse whickered, and backed.  Startling me to my feet, but 'twas just a lass.  Younge, lean, and fair of hair.  She called me Sir, mistooke me for a Knight, for I rode with a horse.

"I am but a messenger, Pike.  You may call me Pike."  As my father had, always.  

"Why dost thou ride with a sword, then?"  She set a bag on the lowest tier of the Plinth, holding up the cross of our lord, with the heathen circle about it.  As if to bind it in iron, gone to rust, and flaked especially atop it, as it is at the rivets that affix it to the post.  

"To protect the message, and myself as I return."  Gathering my ink from the buttercross.  I assume, for Mildred brought eggs, to trade with her friend for milk, whence she arrived.

"Milord," she curtsyed, whence she set down her buckets.  

"He is but a messenger, for the lord.  Cecil is it?"

"Non, of Andover."  

"Whence is your message?"

"I cannot say."

"He has spies after him, hence the sword."  Mildred supplied. "Well, I shal return."  Sighing, and taking up the yoke.  To lift it, and pad off.  Barefoot, down the path alongside the river.  Toward the Millhouse with the water wheel whence she came.

"Spies?"  The milkmaid's eyes sparkled.

"Sometimes, honestly not all that often of late.  For we are not at war, to the west."

"And to the East?"

"There are tales, of things brewing."

"Do tell?"  She put her arms up, in front of the cloth, and eggs.  

"Needn't you get those back to break Fast?"

She nodded, "I have chores as well, that I am in no hurry to get to.  Tis a nice morning, and your horse is lovely."  She laughs, musically.  "Certes, never a plow has she pulled?"

"She is a mare."

"Aye, that I can see."  The milkmaid winked.  "In such a hurry to be off, then?  Tis time enough, for ye to strike camp."  

"I hunger, and weary of jonnycake to."

"Have ye flour, then?"

"A little?"

"Come along then, me mum could use it, with these eggs, and more milk besides.  Your mare, she is satisfied cropping the grass by the wayside?  We have oates."

"Whinhehin!"

Her eyes sparkled with her white teeth.  "Aye, she loves oates, don't you milady?"

"Well," Tucking my Hystrix quill away with my parchement roll, whence it had dried.  "How can I refuse?"

;

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Note: Italics represents handwritten script.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2018, 08:08:31 PM by psiberzerker » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2018, 09:54:53 PM »

Me daughter brought a man back with her, I never thought I'd see the day.  With a sword he left bye the door, and flour.   White as snow, a hand full to kneed in with an egg, and milk.  

So, I agreed to let him stay, and break fast,  Hear him out, but told Brand to get to the grindstone.  She pouted, but he took it up from the hearth, and set it on the table for her to pour in millet.  As he turned it with one arm, and told her a tale.  

"The Bearded Nun:

Long ago, on the banks of the Wallington River, a Fort was built in the crook of an Oxbowe.  There was a small stone keep, and then a ring fort about it, to dig a moat betwixt it, and the towne of Meander."

"Never heard of it."  Folding in celery, onion greens, and carrots.  

"It was forgotten, for generations, then the Normans came, and built it up into a Motte.  This is like a hill, to build a tower on the foundations of the old fort.  A wooden one, then the townspeople fought off the Normans whilst they were away.  Drove the families back into the keep, and piled timbers about the base to burn it down.  Thereafter, it was known as Blackstone Motte, for the fires burned long enough for the clay to be fired, and blackened with the ash.

Then, for generations, it was forgotten again.  My father was conscripted for the war, and rode overseas."

"On a horse?"  I snorted.  

"No, on ships, but with the footmen.  The Knights were on other ships, with their horses, but between them they fought as far as the great Alpine Mountains, and took back the lands for the Empire of Christendom."

"They are Catholics, dear."  

"Oh," She nodded.  

"Sister Wilgifortis Uncumber was named for a saint, born in Meander, converted to Christianity, then married into the noble house of Talbot.  Forgive me, I have forgotten.  The Talbots, my father fought alongside Lord Talbot, and defended him when he was wounded.  His leg twisted under his horse, and pinned by it.  His unit closed to shelter him under their shields, whilst the Bordo fired guns like Hail.  My father, used the knight's broken lance to lift the saddle off his leg, and helped him rise, but then the Breton Cavalry charged, and they had to fall back from Casteyonne."

"A Norman name?"

"This was in Normandy, so I came to be in Meander.  His sister was married to another Hero of the war, and they moved to build a motte there.  I was sent as a Page to serve with the Baronet.  I was young, and she younger still.  Within a year of your age, Bran."

"Who?" She asked of him.

"The Bearded Nun, though she was known by her given name at the time.  Marioth."

"The Halberdet?"

"You've heard of her?"

"What I've heard could scarcely be true, talk of an army of Amazons.  Armed with spears, and their leader armed with a great ax?"

"A halberd," he nodded, but I balanced the cooking bowl on it's feet, and raked ashes under it, with the pie in the center, and covered it.  "Though they could hardly be called an Army, they were a Militia, but formidible, and disciplined."  Fanning the embers up with my apron, I took up rushes from the floor, and sticks from the manger to bake it.

The stone stopped, and her turned on his seat, took up the handle, and resumed turning it with his other arm.  Pumping the first on the chairback.  A weary ache I know all too well.  

Brand poured in more Millet from her hands, held over his lap.  "So, what happened to her?"

"Well, the Abbot took her in.  After the Talbots were betrayed, and murdered, but before that, they built a keep of Slate."

"What's Slate?"

"Drawing Stone?"

"Faced with it, over brick, and timber, yes.  Blackstone keep stands to this day, however it is now watched over by the townspeople for the Abbot.  They turned on her, so she joined the cloister, and took the name Sister Wilgifortis Uncumber, after the Saint."

"And why did they call her the Bearded Nun?"

"Because she grew a beard."

"No!"  Brand giggled.  "You jest."  Punched his shoulder.

He laughed, "To this very day."  He raised his hand flat.  "I swear to God, may he strike me down."

"Do not say such things in this house!"  

"He didn't know Mumma."

"Know what?"

"Well," I dusted my hands, "Me mother was from the Church of Angels, until it was struck down by lightning.  She was but a babe, but miraculously survived to be brought out of the ashes, and rubble.  To this day, we are God Fearing, for what sin could that church have committed, that He strike them down thus?"   No one knows.

"The church across the river."

"Aye?"

"It was Anglican?  And the buttercross."

"Twas built from the spire, or the pieces that could be recovered from it.  The unblackened timbers from inside the roof."  I pointed up to the cross overhead.  "Thus."

"And the Iron?"

"Ye'd have to ask Milhouse, up the river.  His father built it, and no doubt was the one to fix the iron.  To ward against Lightning, 'tis said."

"Lightning strikes iron, 'tis said in the city."

"The spire was of wood, not iron.  It has been a generation, and the buttercross has not been struck.  Are ye sure?"

"They top their's with iron, so as to be struck by lightning, safely.  Or so I am told, though they also have their faith to protect them."

"So did the Church of Angels."

"Begging your pardon, but I would say that God hath decided, who's faith were Stronger.  The Angles, or the Benedictines.  For their Priory still stands, higher, and therefore closer to the storms."  He did not say closer to God, but me mum.  God rest her soul, she was spared.  Only for the lord to take me husband, for what sin?  Answer me that, God.

;
« Last Edit: November 03, 2018, 11:47:40 PM by psiberzerker » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2018, 12:21:15 AM »

Mildred returned with the milk, and cream.  Rushed to churn the latter, and spake excitedly of the rider.  At the buttercross, smitten by him.  "So brave, though he was told tales of Vampires, at the stones, and thought ye old church haunted."

"Pish tosh.  The bodies were buried, and the graveyard sanctified by the Bishop himself.  'tis why lightning hath not struck again.  What are these Vampires?"

"The dead, risen again to feed on blood by night."

"Tis none but the spirits of the Druids in those stones.  No graves for they to rise from, and were the graves of the yard disturbed?"

"No da.  Not that he saw when asked.  Nary the cow bled last night.  Bran said nothing of it, which she would have seen in the milking."  

The trip-arm, steady in it's churn, I stopped the wheel presently.  "Check it."  

"How do you always know?"  She bent to scraping it, the first portion to return to the Widow.  Would that she'd save her arm at the gindstone, I would trade fairly for her millet pies.  

"Years of experience," I tapped my ear.  "So eager to be back to yer friend, Brand?"  Me other daughter, with her mother.  The firey one, is she.  I could not have named her better, though her hair hatch faded from the bright red of her youth.  To brown, thus she's called Bran.  

Mildred takes after her mother, normally.  Hair still bright as spun gold, running out to the daylight with the ball in her apron.  I bent to scrape my portion from the bottom, and was there when I heard hooves along the track.  Horse hooves, nay the Oxen the boatmen lead up stream with their barges, so I wiped my hands.

"Sir Pike, is it?"

"Naught, a lord, nor noble.  Merely a messenger for them, and the Abbot."

"My daughter, exaggerates."  I shook his hand.  "She says ye fought demons in the night for ye blood, and salted the soil?"

"Only around the buttercross, where nothing would grow in the crossroads."

"Why would ye do thus?"

"Vampires, if the salt be pure, they will not cross, nor the bridge so long as the water flows, but they assailed me in my sleep."

"These devils, ye speak of.  She called the Risen Dead.  The only dead around here being the graveyard across the river."

"These came from the witchstones."  He pointed.

"The circle, of Arches?"

"By dusk, but were gone with the dawn."

"Well, ye must be rich, to scatter pure salt on the ground."

"Worth far less than my soul."

"Have ye Copper?"

"Silver, though not much."

"What do ye take me fer, a jewler?  I can work with copper, though silver be bright, 'tis worth naught but a ride on the barges."

"The milkmaid's daughter said you to be a bit of a trader."

"Across the way?  That would be me Brand."

"Bran?"

"Me other daughter, yes."

"They're sisters?"

"Aye, half sisters.  So, have ye come to trade, or to speak of me relations?"  The other daughters, across the river are headed this way.  Some of them mine, "I have to set up the grindstone."

"There's another question, why the Milkmaid grinds her own?"

"She's jealous, can nary stand the sight of me, let alone to trade with me."  All those other women, but some's willing trade of the use of me stone.  "What have ye to ask of me?"

"Your daughter."

"Which one?"  I have them aplenty.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2018, 01:04:04 AM by psiberzerker » Logged

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